The funeral for prominent Wichita businessman Anderson Eugene “Genie” Jackson will be at noon Friday at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1525 North Lorraine.
A viewing starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
A celebration of life ceremony was Thursday night.
Mr. Jackson, retired president and co-owner of Jackson Mortuary, died Sunday, a few hours after attending services at the St. Paul A.M.E. Church.
He was 79.
“His daughter was taking him home after the service and noticed something was wrong,” said City Council member Lavonta Williams, a close friend. “A couple of hours later, we lost him. He was just tired. We were just so blessed to have him for the years we did.”
Mr. Jackson and his twin brother, Abner Val Jean “Val” Jackson were born April 22, 1933, in Wichita. Their grandfather, Abner Jackson Sr., started Jackson’s Mortuary in 1926. It served as a bedrock for the African-American business community.
“Genie touched lives all across the Wichita – and not just any particular community,” Williams said. “He was a tremendous trailblazer for people like me. He was like a second father. He made a tremendous difference.”
As the twins were growing up, their father, Abner Jr., worked at the mortuary during the day and brought cars home at night, having the boys polish them while he fixed them.
They grew up on Water Street in what was then the heart of Wichita’s black business district. To earn extra money, the boys delivered newspapers and sold blocks of ice to neighboring families. They made wagons from cast-off orange crates they found near neighborhood grocery stores. Then, they would lug blocks of ice into their cars, which held about 50 pounds each, and go from door to door.
The boys were often dressed identically – in short pants, knee-length socks and high-buckled, patent leather shoes.
“The two of them were just inseparable,” said Wichita architect Charles McAfee, who grew up with the Jacksons. “Back then all the schools was segregated and we went to L’Ouverture (school) together until eighth grade,” McAfee said. “They went to North High School, and I went to East.”
Both excelled in sports – Gene in baseball and Val in football. They graduated from North High School in 1951. After high school, Mr. Jackson was drafted into the Army. He trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then transferred to a base in New York.
In 1991, Mr. Jackson and his brother were honored by the city of Wichita and the state of Kansas in recognition for their work in the city’s black community and various civic groups.
In 1993, they received the National Conference of Christian and Jews Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award. And, in 1998, both were inducted into the Wichita Business Hall of Fame.
Mr. Jackson’s twin preceded him in death.
Mr. Jackson served on the Kansas Gas & Electric board for five years, before the utility became what is now Westar. He also was among a group willing to build a permanent display of famed Kansan Gordon Parks’ works.
He was a past president of the local chapter of the National Business League and a member of the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts, the NAACP and Urban League.
Mr. Jackson is survived by his wife, Barbara Christine Jackson; daughters, Debra (Leon) Dudley and Timna Jackson; three grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to St. Paul A.M.E. Usher Board Scholarship Fund, 1756 N. Piatt, Wichita, KS 67214.